The University Registrar’s Office certifies veterans each term for their benefits under federal programs, including the Yellow Ribbon Program. Most academic programs at SMU qualify for U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs benefits, making an SMU education accessible and affordable. Veterans are required to provide specific documents before they can be certified with the VA’s Veterans Benefits Administration.
VA Education Benefits Updates
Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP or Chapter 1607)
Effective November 26, 2019, REAP benefits are no longer payable to claimants. Claimants with remaining entitlement under REAP will be evaluated without the claimant needing to request an election. Conversions will be automatic for claimants who do not have chapter 33 entitlement based on another Period of Service (POS). For those claimants who have eligibility to chapter 33 based on another POS, VA will contact them and advise them of the potential impact REAP conversion could have on their chapter 33 entitlement. In those specific situations, VA will not convert the claimant without the claimant’s election.
Eligibility for Post-9/11 GI Bill® benefits will be limited to the number of months remaining under REAP at the time of conversion at a minimum 60% benefit level.
Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship
The Rogers STEM Scholarship application is now available online. Recipients will receive up to nine months of additional Post-9/11 GI Bill® entitlement or a maximum of $30,000. Eligible Post-9/11 GI Bill students must have either exhausted their entitlement or will exhaust their entitlement within 180 days. Eligibility for the scholarship has two paths:
- A student enrolled in a STEM program leading to an undergraduate degree who has completed 60 credit hours of their program and requires at least 120 semester credit hours to graduate.
- A student who has earned a STEM undergraduate degree and has enrolled in a teaching program.
Please note: VA makes all decisions regarding the Rogers STEM Scholarship. School Certifying Officials do not have any input in the decision.
For additional information, please visit the Rogers STEM Scholarship website or contact VA’s Education Call Center by phone at 1-888-442-4551.
Harry W. Colmery Veterans Education Assistance Act (“Forever GI Bill”)
Effective August 1, 2018, the Post-9/11 GI Bill® Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) is calculated based on the location of the campus where you attended the majority of your classes, rather than the location of the main or branch campus of the school where you are enrolled. Your MHA rate will be based on where you are physically taking the majority of your classes.
VA is in the process of implementing Section 107. These changes were set to be in place on August 1, 2018. However, VA delayed implementation and changes are now set to go into effect on December 1, 2019. With implementation quickly approaching, your MHA rate might change.
Effective January 1, 2018, the Post 9/11 GI Bill® MHA will be the same as the Department of Defense’s E-5 with dependents basic allowance for housing rate. You will receive this rate if you first used your Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits on or after January 1, 2018. If you started using your Post-9/11 GI Bill before January 1, 2018, you will continue receiving MHA payments based on the slightly higher VA rate.
VA did not have the capacity to make the rate change immediately, so VA is paying students at the slightly higher VA housing rate until the IT solution is in place on December 1, 2019. For some, this means that you have been overpaid since August 1, 2018 and will begin receiving the corrected rate after December 1. You will receive a letter in December letting you know if you are impacted.
Visit the GI Bill website for more information on the Monthly Housing Allowance changes. Use the GI Bill Comparison Tool to learn more about your MHA rate.